Tag Archives: Graham Smith

➤ Smith & Sullivan sign off We Can Be Heroes with a sigh

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Graham Smith: signing advance copies of We Can Be Heroes between coffee and cake today at Soho’s Society Club. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

❚ THE BOOK OF THE DECADE has arrived and early buyers of the 2,000-copy first edition had it in their hands today. The photo-story of 80s clubland, We Can Be Heroes, felt reassuringly hefty to the touch and we finally discovered the page size to be generous at 235 x 280mm. The five-colour printing gives intensity especially to the black-and-white photography on the high-gloss paper and author Graham Smith’s verdict on the quality was simple: “Stunning.” Collaborator and 80s club-host Chris Sullivan breathed a sigh: “We got there in the end.”

The 320 pages of story-telling and voxpops from perhaps 100 contributors will raise plenty of smiles when the postman delivers the book during the next week. Even if you’ve read Shapersofthe80s from top to bottom, you’ll find as many more quotes and insights from the original Blitz Kids themselves. Deejay Jeffrey Hinton reminds us in the book: “People think this was a premeditated scene but it was not. It was childlike, thrown together. We didn’t do it for the money, we were innocent. It’s all so marketed today.”

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Ringleaders who shaped the style of the 80s celebrated in We Can Be Heroes: Chris Sullivan, Fiona Dealey, Lee Sheldrick, Stephen Linard and Kim Bowen — the rebels within St Martin’s School of Art, all photographed by Graham Smith

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Bournemouth was the destination on bank holidays: good-natured hijinks brought London clubbers to the south-coast resort, and Smith has included many of their snaps in We Can Be Heroes

While the main images reveal just how small in number was the coterie who initiated the sounds and styles of the 80s, Smith has supplemented his own portfolio of pictures with many snaps from clubland wags themselves whose ambitions were liberated by the spirit of collaboration inspired in 1980. Nevertheless, designer Fiona Dealey makes a valid point in the book: “When anyone has written about the Blitz it has been by the same few blokes giving the same old soundbites with never a mention of what the women were up to. The Blitz was our youth club and I feel they hijacked it.”

Today John Mitchinson, the book’s publisher, said he was reasonably confident that a commercial edition of Heroes might follow in the autumn of 2012. In the meantime a limited number of copies of the first edition are still available only from Unbound Publishing.

➢ 1976–1984, Creative clubbing ended with the 80s — we profile three of the bright sparks behind We Can Be Heroes and how they shaped the decade

➢ View Shapersofthe80s video — Chris Sullivan telling his “ribald tales of excess” from the Blitz era at a launch party for We Can Be Heroes… with Graham Smith and Robert Elms on video too

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Chris Sullivan signing today: “Now people can see the book itself we might shift a few more copies.” Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

FRONT PAGE

2011 ➤ Party of the year recreates the Swinging 80s at the legendary Beat Route (down, down past the Talk of the Town)

+++

Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan, photography, books,youth culture, We Can Be Heroes , Swinging 80s,Beat Route, clubbing

Le Beat Route recreated for one night only: One of our heroes, MC Sullivan, sharing the best sounds in London last night

Beat Route, nightclubbing,We Can Be Heroes, books

Thursday night Beat Route! The same underground club emanating a spookily familiar spirit of place

❚ WITHOUT DOUBT party of the year at the former Beat Route, Soho, last night as Graham Smith and Chris Sullivan launched their photobook We Can Be Heroes, which is winging its way from printers to the lucky buyers of the first edition.

Full report and yet more exclusive pix are coming on Shapersofthe80s.com once I can wade through the many brilliant soundbites offered by everybody out last night to celebrate the Swinging 80s…

➢ Although the first edition of We Can Be Heroes has sold out, a special clothbound edition is now on sale for £35, plus a Deluxe edition for £350, at the Unbound Publishing website

Beat Route, nightclubbing,Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan,We Can Be Heroes

Thursday night Beat Route! Hosts, authors and 80s deejays Graham Smith and Chris Sullivan

Beat Route, nightclubbing,We Can Be Heroes,1980s, Steve Lewis, Jay Strongman

Thursday night Beat Route! Seminal club deejays of the 80s Steve Lewis and Jay Strongman

Beat Route, nightclubbing,Lesley Chilkes, Boy George, David Holah,We Can Be Heroes

Thursday night Beat Route! Lesley Chilkes, Boy George, David Holah

[ Exclusive party pix courtesy of sandromartini.com ]

Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan, photography, books,youth culture, We Can Be Heroes , Swinging 80s,Beat Route, clubbing

TNBR! Last night’s other chief hero hosting the party of the photobook of the 80s — snapper Graham Smith and his lovely wife Lorraine (Northern Soul veterans, both)

FRONT PAGE

1980 ➤ Ribald tales of excess as the kids from The Blitz took over West End clubbing

+++
❚ FRIDAY NIGHT WAS AN EXCUSE for the wags to tell their tall tales of clubbing in the 80s. This was the first reunion in recent memory of the bright sparks the media once called Blitz Kids and New Romantics. We’re talking about the straighter faction tonight — the make-up brigade had their day at Boy George’s 50th birthday party in June. All of them, whatever their persuasion, were diehard nightowls, the spiritual offspring of the mighty innovator who shaped the 1970s pop scene almost singlehandedly, David Bowie. He taught them to adopt stances: individualism, transgression. He bequeathed them principles for living amusing lives: disposable identities, looks not uniforms. In turn, they then shaped the sounds and styles of the Swinging 80s set in motion by 1976 and the birth of punk, along with a passion for black dance music, on through the decadent glamour of the Blitz Club years, to the watershed of Band Aid in 1984.

On Friday, photographer Graham Smith took over Soho’s newest rendezvous, the Society Club, for a gallery show of his 80s photographs, which capture the panache and derring-do of style leaders such as PX, Stephen Jones, Kim Bowen Melissa Caplan, Stephen Linard, Fiona Dealey, John Maybury and such nascent popstars as Spandau Ballet, Visage, Animal Nightlife, Sade, Blue Rondo à la Turk and others.

Our two videos capture the essence of Smith’s collaborators, Robert Elms and Chris Sullivan, powering through their often unprintable anecdotes, edited on video down to bite-sized chunks and garnished with Graham’s images. The highspot was meant to be Sullivan as guest speaker, but when he was reportedly “still on his way”, in stepped writer and broadcaster Elms to recall the early one-night clubs he also helped to run. He sounded genuinely shocked by the precociousness of his peers — “We were kids!” — who persuaded West End nightclubs to hand over door control to them as teenagers. Eventually, Sullivan  arrived in the guise of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and of course excelled at spinning his “ribald tale of excess” about the mayhem he helped cause in clubland, en route to running Soho’s Wag club for 19 years.

+++
The photos form a dossier creative endeavour, as we’ll soon see in We Can Be Heroes, a 320-page coffee-table book containing 500 mostly unseen images and 100 voxpop interviews by Graham Smith. Warts-and-all main text is penned by the mellifluous Welshman Sullivan, with other contributions from Robert Elms, Boy George, Steve Strange and Gary Kemp.

We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan, Robert Pereno, Society Club , Soho ,books,Unbound Publishing,photography, exhibition,afterparty, Aviary Bar, Robert Elms, Boy George, Gary Kemp ,Steve Strange, Blitz Kids,Wag club,

Smith & Sullivan’s invitation to a party

➢ Visit the publisher Unbound.co.uk to place your order for We Can Be Heroes and secure your name in the limited first edition. This month the authors aim to hit an advance sales target by this new “crowd-funding” technique in order to guarantee publication.

➢ Visit The Society Club, London W1F 0JF where Graham Smith’s photographs are on sale until Christmas. Subjects include Boy George, Sade, Steve Strange, Spandau Ballet, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie Sioux, the Sex Pistols and many more.

➢ Skimmable list of media coverage of We Can Be Heroes so far

Making up the rules of 80s clubbing: Robert Elms, Phil Dirtbox and Chris Sullivan at Friday’s nostalgia fest. Photograph by Shapersofthe80s

Fanatical about music: Chris Sullivan, Jo Hagan (remember 1983’s Gold Coast?) and Darrell Gayle at the Society Club. Photograph by Shapersofthe80s

FRONT PAGE

➤ Meet Smith & Sullivan, the wags behind the story of the heroic 80s

Wag telling tales: Sullivan in full flow at an earlier photography show by Smith, right. Photograph by Shapersofthe80s

Update Nov 22:

➢ Although the first edition of We Can be Heroes has sold out, a special cloth-bound edition is now on sale for £35, plus a Deluxe edition for £350, at the Unbound Publishing website

❚ HERE’S AN IRRESISTIBLE PARTY INVITATION. As their fund-raising barometer hits 60% of target, the authors of We Can Be Heroes, a ribald account of Britain in the 80s, announce another soirée
 to raise public awareness. Their nightlife peers changed the face of the UK club scene which created dozens of new bands, artists and designers. Born with the mutant party-animal gene, Graham Smith & Chris Sullivan are taking over Robert Pereno’s new Society Club in Soho for two reasons: to show off Graham’s stylish clubland photos, which will be selling there until Christmas; but chiefly to win over buyers who are dithering over investing £30 in their huge coffee-table book that is garnished with tall stories from Sullivan as well as 100 other club-world collaborators.

Come along next Friday to meet them over a drink and to hear the garrulous Welshman Sullivan “in conversation with eminent journalist Michael Holden” — in other words, talking hind legs off donkeys. Orders for the book can be placed only online at Unbound Publishing (where Graham has an explanatory video) so they won’t be prising your wallet open on the spot. Inevitably, a further high point of the evening will be a free-entry after-party where Sullivan will be deejaying classic club tunes from 1976-84 half a mile away at The Aviary Bar.

We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan, Unbound Publishing,photography,As of today there are only 16 days left to buy your prestige 
limited first-edition of We Can Be Heroes (there won’t be a second edition unless they reach 100% on the first) and you get your name printed in it. You’ll be within the same hard covers as starry contributors such as Robert Elms, Boy George, Gary Kemp and Steve Strange. The clock is ticking because of the new “crowd-sourcing” technique to raise funds. This is being pioneered in books by Unbound, a new offshoot of Faber, whose authors include Python Terry Jones, cultural taste-maker Jonathan Meades, and creator of TV’s This Life series, Amy Jenkins.

One of the reasons fund-raising has been a slow burn for S&S is that, uniquely on the Unbound list, We Can Be Heroes is the only photo-book, requiring quality paper and classy printing. Sullivan says: “Ours needed six times as many pledges as the other text-only titles.”

Smith says: “Dig out your espadrilles and book yourself a baby sitter now!”

➢ Exhibition and talk, Friday Nov 4 … 7–10pm at The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, W1F OJF … and afterwards 10–3am at The Aviary Bar, 17 Little Portland Street, W1W 
8BW … Graham Smith’s photos remain in exhibition and on sale here until Christmas

➢ Skimmable list of media coverage of We Can Be Heroes so far

We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan, Robert Pereno, Society Club , Soho ,books,Unbound Publishing,photography, exhibition,afterparty, Aviary Bar, Robert Elms, Boy George, Gary Kemp ,Steve Strange, Blitz Kids,Wag club,

Smith & Sullivan’s invitation to a party: click to enlarge

FRONT PAGE

2011 ➤ Pay now — so We Can Be Heroes goes ahead!

1980: Clare Thom, Philip Sallon and George O’Dowd on a coach trip to Margate. Photograph by Graham Smith/grsmith@mac.com.jpg from his book We Can Be Heroes

WE CAN BE HEROES
must be funded by November 12 17 [update]

❚ NOBODY IS BETTER QUALIFIED to chronicle the whirlwind six years between punk and the death of the New Romantics than Graham Smith through his eye-witness photography, and the writer Chris Sullivan, one of the core movers-and-shapers of his generation. UK music and style evolved out of all recognition in a mighty resurgence of youth subcultures that directly triggered a rejuvenation of mainstream media for the rest of the decade. Shapersofthe80s was on hand as an observer. But these two wags were in the thick of the action — major players in a spontaneous youthful collaboration to regenerate the UK’s ailing music and style scenes as 1980 dawned. With contributions by a galaxy of stars, who include Gary Kemp and Boy George, this will become the definitive story of one of the great explosions of creativity in British youth culture.

The authors aim to get their large-format 320-page coffee-table photobook We Can Be Heroes to you in time for Christmas. Their “crowd-funding” venture requires them to raise the cash first by asking YOU to buy your copy in advance, before 6pm GMT on November 12 17. Your reward is to see your name printed as a Supporter in the limited first edition. The clock is ticking.

View Graham’s video today at Unbound Publishing, a new company under the patronage of Faber, the most prestigious publisher in Britain. Here you can purchase your book and enjoy other perks such as an invitation to the launch party. Join the clubbers at Facebook who are submitting their own photos and tales of merriment.

➢ Twitter directly with the publisher, Unbound

READ WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SAID
ABOUT WE CAN BE HEROES

+++

➢ Unbound aims for 40 books in year one … Supported by Faber, the platform was created by QI writers John Mitchinson and John Pollard, and Crap Towns author Dan Kieran — The Bookseller

➢ Funded by the people — Channel 4 News video on “crowdfunding”, the process that decides when and how Graham’s book gets published

➢ Why creative clubbing ended with the 80s — the credentials that equipped Smithy, Sullivan and Elms (and a few other crazies) to start changing the world

➢ Boy George says the 70s were the best time ever to be a teenager — and Tweets that “it’s a brilliant book about the New Romantics! Really!” He has also written a foreword in We Can Be Heroes. (So have Gary Kemp, Steve Strange and Robert Elms)

➢ A slideshow of Graham’s Blitz-era gems at Guardian online

➢ Thirty years of punk and post-punk photo imagery — by Disneyrollergirl, one of The Times’ 40 bloggers who count

➢ Huffington Post: All about 1980s club kids — former Blitz Kid and Times fashion editor Iain R Webb writes about Bowie’s impact on the Blitz scene

➢ A legacy that has inspired each decade since the 80s — Princesss Julia, international deejay and fabulous Blitz Club coat-check girl, writes for i-D about stripping away the posers’ facade

➢ Update Nov 6: priceless storytelling about 80s mayhem with Elms and Sullivan on video

➢ Promo video for Blue Jean (1984) starring David Bowie as Screamin’ Lord Byron before a London clubland audience … Below is the alternate version of Blue Jean for MTV, starring Bowie and the Aliens, shot live before an audience in Soho’s Wag club, which was hosted for 19 years by Chris Sullivan

+++

FRONT PAGE